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Melon picking wisdom

As Boromir would have put it, one does not simply pick fruit at the Palo Alto farmers market.

This is a city in which the average denizen’s fitness would put most fiddles to shame; a town with more yoga studios per square mile than banks in Manhattan. If you’re a Starbucks barista here, you better know the glycemic index of each item: calorie values are so dotcom era.

It is, therefore, not unusual for a relative food ignoramus like me to feel somewhat under pressure at the prospect of just picking the first piece of fruit and buying it, which is what I usually do, a practice which, in its defense, has proven more than adequate. But when the customer next to you is asking the friendly proprietor about the Brix acid ratio of this season’s nectarines, you tend to at least try to fit in, if you know what I mean.

And so it came to pass that against my better judgment, I tentatively picked up a watermelon and lightly tapped on it with my knuckles. And, inevitably, (for Murphys Law hath no mercy) it also came to pass that right after the aforementioned knocking a kindly old Asian lady with twinkling eyes looked at me and asked, “So, what do you think?” – a question which, I’m sure you can guess, had only one honest answer.

I think I just made a fool of myself, I said, I haven’t the slightest idea about picking watermelons. She laughed and said that she had tried the knocking technique for many years and concluded that the sound of a melon had no bearing on its taste. “I just look for a clean exterior”, she said, “and keep my fingers crossed.”